Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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In 2011, Metropolitan Police Officer Leo and three other officers, part of the Gun Recovery Unit, encountered Briscoe in an apartment parking lot. When an officer asked Briscoe if he was carrying a gun, Briscoe fled. Two officers pursued Briscoe on foot, while Leo and another pursued in a police vehicle. Leo testified that he saw Briscoe’s right hand moving toward his waistband, causing Leo to fear that he was reaching for a gun. Briscoe repeatedly looked over his shoulder, toward the officers, and turned toward the police vehicle, pointing what appeared to Leo to be a gun. Leo fired two shots, striking Briscoe in the back. Briscoe was transported to the hospital where he died as a result of the wounds. A police search of the scene of the shooting recovered no actual firearm but produced a broken BB gun, which closely resembled a Walther PPK pistol. No fingerprints were found on the weapon. In a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the district court dismissed some claims. Some counts went to trial, resulting in a verdict for the defense. The D.C. Circuit affirmed, upholding the exclusion of Briscoe’s cell phone bill from evidence and the denial of sanctions for the prosecution’s late disclosure of a fingerprint report and of the fact that the BB gun had been swabbed for DNA. View "Lane v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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In Fourstar v. Garden City Grp., Inc., 875 F.3d 1147 (D.C. Cir. 2017), the district court decided that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a district court's decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims does not count as a strike against a prisoner seeking in forma pauperis (IFP) privileges in later litigation. In light of Fourstar, the court held that it was not a strike under the PLRA when a district court in effect, though not in its exact terms, declines to hear state law claims in situations where 28 U.S.C. 1367 would authorize it to resolve. Accordingly, the court granted plaintiff's petition to proceed IFP in this court and remanded with instructions for the district court to do the same. View "Ladeairous v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of state in an action alleging disclosures of plaintiff's personal identifying information in violation of the Privacy Act. The court held that plaintiff's personal identifying information was released pursuant to a valid routine-use notice. In this case, the release of the information was compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. The court explained that the purpose for collecting plaintiff's identifying information – to investigate whether to designate him for economic sanctions and to implement the sanctions – was precisely aligned with the purpose of disclosure – to implement the sanctions by publishing the information to the public. View "Chichakli v. Tillerson" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of state in an action alleging disclosures of plaintiff's personal identifying information in violation of the Privacy Act. The court held that plaintiff's personal identifying information was released pursuant to a valid routine-use notice. In this case, the release of the information was compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. The court explained that the purpose for collecting plaintiff's identifying information – to investigate whether to designate him for economic sanctions and to implement the sanctions – was precisely aligned with the purpose of disclosure – to implement the sanctions by publishing the information to the public. View "Chichakli v. Tillerson" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from the district court's issuance of an injunction ordering the Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury to provide meaningful access to paper currency to visually impaired individuals by the next time the Treasury Department released redesigned banknotes. At issue are the next redesigns, which will fall between 2026 and 2038. Plaintiffs asked the district court to modify the injunction to hold the Secretary to an earlier deadline for providing meaningful access to currency. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's decision declining to modify the injunction and remanded for the district court to better support its findings supporting its denial of modified injunctive relief. View "American Council of the Blind v. Mnuchin" on Justia Law

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President Trump, by executive order issued in May 2017, established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. EPIC filed suit against the Commission and others, alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and sought a preliminary injunction to prohibit defendants from collecting voter data unless and until they complete a privacy impact assessment as allegedly required by the E-Government Act of 2002. The district court concluded that EPIC had standing and denied a preliminary injunction. The DC Circuit affirmed, but based on a different conclusion than that of the district court. The court upheld the denial of preliminary injunction because EPIC did not show a substantial likelihood of standing to press its claims that defendants have violated the E-Government Act. In this case, EPIC has suffered no informational or organizational injury. View "Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act's (FECA), 52 U.S.C. 30116(a)(1)(A), base limits on individual contributions to candidates. The DC Circuit rejected plaintiffs' challenge to Congress's decision to fashion FECA's base contribution limits for individuals as per-election ceilings. The court explained that the Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), rejected a constitutional challenge to those ceilings, and that holding remains undisturbed. The Supreme Court reasoned that, as long as a contribution limit is not so low as to prevent candidates from mounting effective campaigns, the judiciary would generally defer to Congress's determination of the limit’s precise amount. The court concluded that the same was true of Congress's intertwined choice of the timeframe in which that amount may be contributed. View "Holmes v. FEC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the District, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-200e-17. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment regarding plaintiff's retaliation claims relating to actions taken prior to October 2007, holding that the district court correctly found not only that he never responded to this portion of the District's motion for summary judgment but also that there was no evidence in the record that he filed any charge of discrimination that would have rendered the claims timely. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the District on plaintiff's remaining retaliation claims arising out of events occurring after October 2007, holding that a reasonable jury could not infer from the proffered evidence that the challenged employment actions might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination. View "Durant v. District of Columbia Government" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an action alleging that the revocation of plaintiff's security clearance violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. 1806(c). In regard to the FISA, the court declined to consider plaintiff's two theories of sovereign immunity waiver because he raised them for the first time on appeal. The court also held that plaintiff had no constitutionally protected property interest in his security clearance and he received all the process that was due. In this case, plaintiff's security clearance was revoked because he admitted misconduct in accessing sensitive information for personal reasons. Finally, the court rejected plaintiff's claims that his equal protection rights were violated because he received a harsher penalty for his admitted misconduct than non-Muslim agents who committed similar misconduct, and because the ARC treated his naturalized family members differently than native born U.S. citizens. Plaintiff's claims were barred by Department of the Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518 (1988). Even if the claims were not barred by Egan, they failed for other reasons. View "Gill v. DOJ" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2012 elections, filed suit claiming that they were excluded pursuant to an agreement between the Obama for America and Romney for President campaigns. Plaintiffs alleged that the parties' agreement reflected in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) stipulated to three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, and designated dates, locations, moderators, and topics. Plaintiffs challenged the MOU as an unlawful agreement to monopolize and restrain competition in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1–2. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case. The court held that the doctrine of constitutional avoidance permitted the court to resolve this case on alternative grounds, based on antitrust standing. The court explained that the injuries plaintiffs claim were simply not those contemplated by the antitrust laws. Furthermore, plaintiffs failed to allege a clear legal claim, let alone identified a cognizable injury, in regard to their First Amendment claim. View "Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates" on Justia Law